Updated November 27, 2019 by Daniel Imperiale

The 8 Best Modems For COX

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Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in March of 2016. If you are a Cox Communications cable customer, but you aren't happy with your Internet speeds or the performance of the company's equipment, try one of these third-party modems. Not only will they boost your network connections, but they will also free you from the monthly fee that Cox charges you to rent their inferior hardware. Many also incorporate a router, so you can save even more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best modem for cox on Amazon.

8. Arris Surfboard SBG10

7. Netgear CM600

6. Arris Surfboard SBG7600 AC2

5. Motorola MB8600

4. Netgear Orbi All-In-One

3. Arris Surfboard Plus SBG8300

2. Asus CM-32 Combo

1. Netgear Nighthawk C7800

Editor's Notes

November 21, 2019:

It's important to keep a list like this current, so any items running outdated or inferior protocols won't force customers to upgrade again before they ought to. The latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology, for example, gave a few models a leg up over others that merely employed its 3.0 predecessor. We also attempted to organize the list in terms of channel bonding and maximum top speed, so the higher you climb in the ranking, the faster your connection should get.

As to the question of combination modem/routers vs. simple modems, the industry really likes combining the technologies, and while it's certainly not impossible to find a standalone modem, the number of people who would actually need such a thing is very small. Still, we included the Motorola MB8600 and the Netgear CM600 for just that kind of user.

Arris continues to be a big player in this market, with the Arris Surfboard Plus SBG8300 and the Arris Surfboard SBG7600 AC2 both offering 32 x 8 bonding, two-year warranties, and very simple, effective user interfaces. Their routers might not produce the most reliable signal for the most demanding gamers, but for just about everyone else, they're a great option.

What Do I Need to Consider Before Purchasing a Modem?

Ideally, you'll want to purchase a modem with as fast a connection as is available within your budget.

Assuming you are a Cox Cable customer, your first priority whenever considering a third-party modem is whether that modem will be compatible with your cable hook-up. Cox provides a list of compatible modems on its website, and you can also determine whether a specific model will be compatible by reading its description or by contacting the manufacturer via email or phone. (Obviously, all of the models on our list are Cox-compatible.)

Your next consideration should be internet speed. Ideally, you'll want to purchase a modem with as fast a connection as is available within your budget. If you're not tech-savvy, you may want to look into buying a modem that features a running row of lights across the console. These lights are usually color-coded, with green meaning that a specific function is working, and red meaning that a specific function has stopped. More often than not, you can use these lights to work out common troubleshooting issues. Along those lines, you may want to purchase your modem from a manufacturer that offers customer service around the clock.

Depending on how your home - or office - is set up, you may want to confirm that any modem you're interested in has a considerable range, assuming that said modem is, in fact, wireless. Wireless modems with a poor range (i.e., less than 50 ft.) may suffer from interference that interrupts your connection on a regular basis, and that, in turn, could lead to a loss of work, poor streaming capability, or worse.

In the event you have a high-speed connection, you'll want to purchase a modem that is capable of channel bonding. Channel bonding is an industry term that refers to spreading incoming data over two or more lines, or channels. The result is a more fluid transmission that minimizes delays, including buffering.

Depending on where you plan on placing your modem, be sure that any specific model will be durable enough to withstand heat from constant use, exposure to sunlight, dampness, and dust. You may also want to confirm whether a specific modem is actually energy-efficient, as an energy-efficient model can help you to save money.

The Myriad Advantages of Owning a Third-Party Modem

Over the past few years, an increasing number of Cox Cable customers have purchased third-party modems for use with their Cox-enabled internet connections. This trend started as a reaction to Cox charging customers a rental fee for modem-routers that had been previously included for free as a part of each customer's installation package. While these fees appear minor (i.e., less than $10 a month), they are also recurring, amounting to an extra $75-100 a year.

Whereas Cox's modems do not require an exorbitant amount of electricity, there are definitely models on the market that can do the same job while costing a customer less.

On top of rental fees, there is also a consideration of electricity costs. Whereas Cox's modems do not require an exorbitant amount of electricity, there are definitely models on the market that can do the same job while costing a customer less. In addition, owning a top-of-the-line modem might increase a COX customer's network performance, thereby decreasing the chances that your service might freeze or crash.

Certain third-party modems may also be easier to repair or troubleshoot than a standard Cox modem. Keep in mind that as a contractual renter, Cox Cable reserves the right to charge you for any modem that has been irreparably damaged, or broken. If a Cox modem does break, you could end up paying a monthly fee for a new model, while also compensating the company for its old one. The most viable solution might be to seek out a third-party modem that comes with a strong warranty. Having a warranty might allow you to choose between an even exchange or a money-back return for a damaged modem.

A Brief History of The Modem

The story of the modem begins during the 1920s, when news wire services began to use multiplex devices as a way of sending and receiving typed transmissions via telephone wire. This technology, which paved the way for the facsimile machine, also provided an early window into how a dial-up modem would work.

Modems were initially used by the U.S. Air Force as part of a telephonic air-defense system during the 1950s. This system connected terminals across a variety of command sites throughout the United States and Canada, allowing for instant communication by way of typed messages. Given this was new technology, it was extremely difficult - if not impossible - for other parties to intercept any of the transmissions between points.

In certain cases, these third-party modems can even provide a customer with superior network performance.

In 1962, AT&T set up the first public network of modem lines, allowing businesses and individuals to communicate by way of telephonic data. Modem datasets were housed inside of rectangular computer terminals with a phone cradled above the monitor and a keyboard attached along the front end. AT&T was able to claim a veritable monopoly on modems throughout the 1960s, due to patented technology and exclusive access to cross-country phone lines. This began to change during the 1970s, as rival companies developed their own modem technology, while also partnering with computer companies to establish end-to-end control.

As the technology surrounding computers, phone lines, and data improved, modems were able to send more data more quickly, and they were also capable of executing more elaborate commands. Throughout the 1980s, modem technology was largely focused on increasing the manner in which a collection of data could be received. Several companies began developing uniform protocols that would enable different types of modems to communicate more effectively, regardless of make, manufacturer, or model.

During the 1990s, dial-up modems became standard in most homes as a result of the internet boom. After the turn of the 20th century, consumers began upgrading to broadband modems, any of which could send and receive unprecedented amounts of data within seconds. Today, cable companies own the majority of the broadband market. In a lot of cases, these cable companies have taken to charging customers a monthly rental fee for the use of customized modems. Consumers have responded by purchasing compatible third-party modems that allow them to avoid those rental fees. In certain cases, these third-party modems can even provide a customer with superior network performance.

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Daniel Imperiale
Last updated on November 27, 2019 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

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